The Views Of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers Regarding The

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The Views Of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers Regarding The
Mayıs 2016 Cilt:24 No:3 Kastamonu Eğitim Dergisi 1343-1358
The Views Of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers
Regarding The Teaching Of The Atatürk’s Principles And
History Of Revolution1
Sosyal Bilgiler Öğretmeni Adaylarının Atatürk İlkeleri Ve
İnkılâp Tarihi Öğretimine Yönelik Görüşleri
Bülent AKBABA
Gazi Üniversitesi Gazi Eğitim Fakültesi, Sosyal Bilgiler Eğitimi ABD, Ankara
Bahattin DEMİRTAŞ
Gazi Üniversitesi Polatlı Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Ankara
Togay Seçkin BİRBUDAK
Gazi Üniversitesi Gazi Eğitim Fakültesi, Tarih Eğitimi ABD, Ankara
Bahadır KILCAN
Gazi Üniversitesi Gazi Eğitim Fakültesi, Sosyal Bilgiler Eğitimi ABD, Ankara
Makalenin Geliş Tarihi : 01.05.2015
Yayına Kabul Tarihi: 09.06.2015
Abstract
This study aimed at determining the views of pre-service social studies teachers regarding
the teaching of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution (APHR). Survey model was
employed in the present study whose study group consisted of 437 pre-service social studies
teachers from Gazi University, Karadeniz Technical University, Kastamonu University, and
Aksaray University. According to the research results, pre-service social studies teachers have a
medium-level and high-level interest in the subjects of the APHR, but read just a limited number
of studies on such subjects. Based on the findings of the study, it is seen that the APHR should
be compulsory in higher education, every Turkish citizen should receive this course, the lesson
content does not change in the course of time, course hours allocated for this course are adequate,
and the course objectives are achieved sufficiently, according to the views of the pre-service
teachers.
Keywrods: Atatürk’s principles, revolution history, social studies, pre-service teachers
Özet
Bu araştırmanın amacı sosyal bilgiler öğretmeni adaylarının Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılâp
Tarihi öğretimine yönelik görüşlerini belirleyebilmektir. Tarama modelinde gerçekleştirilen
araştırmanın çalışma grubunu Gazi Üniversitesi, Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi, Kastamonu
Üniversitesi ve Aksaray Üniversitesi’nde öğrenim gören 437 sosyal bilgiler öğretmeni adayı
1. This study is the extended version of the oral presentation (having the same title as this one) made
in the 3rd International Symposium on Social Studies Education held in Ankara between the 28th and the
30th of April 2014.
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oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmanın sonuçlarına göre, sosyal bilgiler öğretmeni adayları Atatürk
İlkeleri ve İnkılâp Tarihi konularına orta ve üst düzeyde ilgi duymakta fakat konu ile ilgili az
sayıda kitap okumaktadır. AİİT dersinin yükseköğretim düzeyinde zorunlu olarak okutulması,
her Türk vatandaşının bu dersi alması, ders içeriğinin değişmemesi, ders saatinin uygunluğu,
amaçlarının gerçekleşme düzeyinin yeterli olduğu ifade edilmektedir.
Anahtar Kelimeler: Atatürk ilkeleri, inkılâp tarihi, sosyal bilgiler, öğretmen adayları
1.Intrdoduction
One of the fundamental steps taken by newly-founded nation states fighting for independence to strengthen their existence is to separate and differentiate themselves from
their predecessors. One of the methods employed to this end is rejecting the old and
glorifying the new (Bileteska, Şahin and Şükür, 2013). Building the Republic of Turkey,
which was founded on the roots of the Ottoman Empire – the last part of the rooted
Turkish-Islamic tradition– after it withdrew from the stage of history, on sound bases
depended on the existence of individuals internalizing the political and social life style
introduced by it first of all. Thus, those who realized the revolution tried to establish a
new socio-economic and political structure as well as an organizational fabric to ensure
an effective flow of such structure on one hand, and embarked upon a series of enterprises for making the society adopt this new regime on the other hand. An important part
of the effort to shape the mentality of individuals for the future of the Turkish society in
accordance with the intended objectives was considered to be history and history education regarded as quite an effective instrument to fulfill the above-mentioned function
(Aslan, 1998: 305). All states of the modern world have given priority to the implementation of a modern history education that is suitable for their own existential philosophies and gives meaning to their ideologies (Metin, 2006: 46). History has been an
important instrument for shaping national identity within the Republic of Turkey’s order
of cultivating citizens. Within this context, Kemalism and the history of the Republic of
Turkey have quite a unique part in the approach of the Republic to the construction of
modernization (Yılmaz, 2006).
The effects of revolution history courses, which are compulsory in all stages of
education in Turkey including undergraduate education, on the collective memory and
national identity of the Turkish society are quite evident (Bileteska, Şahin and Şükür,
2013). One purpose of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course is to
make new generations adopt Atatürk’s principles and revolutions consciously, and to
equip them with qualifications enabling them to be on the alert and resist against all sorts
of destructive movements, approaches, and actions that object to the fact that the State
of the Republic of Turkey is an indivisible whole with its country and nation. Another
purpose of this course is to make them experience the honor and happiness of being
Turkish through having them feel that they are the inheritor of a broad and rich history
while they are evaluating and interpreting events about the country and the world from
our recent past to the future, and to achieve all that by using the facilities of the method
of history and through cooperation with other disciplines (Hatipoğlu, 2004: 22). Even
though the content and the name of the course have been redefined over the years, its
goal has not changed radically in the historical process (Şimşek and Güler, 2013).
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The Views Of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers...
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There seems to be a consensus on the goal of teaching revolution history. However,
there is no consensus how to present it (i.e. offering history along with elements creating
national consciousness and citizenship consciousness vs. offering history as a science
coherently and reliably based on primary sources), which has caused the teaching of
revolution history in Turkey to be a chronic topic of discussion (Safran, 2006: 100).
While the superiority and objectivity of science are explained to young generations at
universities on one hand, the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course,
which is a mission course, is given to them on the other hand. That is not unique to
the Republic of Turkey. Courses with similar contents to this course are given in many
countries across the world as a guarantee of the regime, which is called indoctrination
(Akgün, 2004). Every country must know their existential history and work to ensure
its sustainability through conveying it to the next generations. In Turkey, the aim of
providing history courses in general and revolution history courses in particular is to
show the success in overcoming the danger of disappearance and surviving, and to make
individuals comprehend the process of rebirth under a new name (Arslan, 2005: 65). In
this course, students are not expected to acquire history knowledge alone. The course
attempts to cultivate individuals who comprehend the historical events taking place in
the process of formation of Atatürk’s principles and revolutions constituting the basis of
the Republic of Turkey, adopt such principles and revolutions, and have a consciousness
to sustain them. The discipline of history tries to manifest historical facts as objectively
as possible. However, when it is addressed as an instrument of acculturation process,
the revolution history course aims to cultivate people who not only can do historical
research, think critically, and discuss, but also try to sustain relevant revolutions (Acun,
2006: 155).
The revolution history course is a compulsory course provided in all departments
of the universities in Turkey. The compulsoriness of the course for all higher education
youth does not guarantee uniformity in its teaching (Aksoy, 2006: 66). Lack of such
uniformity brings about new discussions about the course. There have been hot debates
in the academy (especially among the scientists of law, political science, and history)
concerning how to teach this course. The debates on the revolution history course have
centered upon two points: (1) the course must be indoctrination-based; or (2) the course
must be considered a matter of science and be addressed in accordance with the methods of the science of history (İnan, 2012). Since it dates back to 1925 and has always
continued its existence in the Turkish education system through new arrangements depending on different political developments taking place in the historical process, the
Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course has been subject to such debates
many times. Besides the debates of educational scientists concerning the learning-teaching process of the course, there are also some different stakeholders considered to be
concerned with the course who discuss the existence, philosophy, and objectives of the
course (Babaoğlu, 2013). The recent studies on the existence and objectives of the revolution history course as well as the problems experienced in its teaching and solution
offers regarding such problems seem to focus on three main topics. (1) general problems
experienced in the teaching of the revolution history course; (2) teachers’ views regarding the problems experienced in the high school revolution history course; and (3) the
views of pre-service teachers regarding the revolution history course (Şimşek and Güler,
2013). Among these three topics, the third one (i.e. the views of pre-service teachers
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regarding the revolution history course) has a special importance in that the foundation
philosophy of the country is expected to be conveyed to the youth through teachers.
Aim
This study aimed at determining the views of pre-service social studies teachers
regarding the teaching of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course
(APHRC). To this end, an attempt was made to answer the below-mentioned questions:
•
What are the interest and achievement levels of pre-service social studies teachers regarding the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course?
•
What are the views of pre-service social studies teachers regarding the existence and necessity of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course?
•
At what level do pre-service social studies teachers think the objectives of the
Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course are achieved?
•
What problems are experienced in the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course, according to pre-service social studies teachers?
•
What does APHRC mean for pre-service social studies teachers?
2.Method
2.1. Research Model
The survey model was employed in the present study. The survey model is a scientific research type that tries to reflect an existing situation as it is and to evaluate the
individuals or objects under examination in their own conditions (Karasar, 2008). The
present study employed the survey model because it was suitable for its aim, could
reveal an existing situation, allowed studying large samples, could provide information
about the views of participants concerning a particular subject or event, etc. (Büyüköztürk et al., 2008).
2.2. Study Group
The study group consisted of 437 pre-service social studies teachers studying at the
departments of social studies education of Aksaray University Faculty of Education,
Gazi University Gazi Faculty of Education, Karadeniz Technical University Fatih Faculty of Education, and Kastamonu University Faculty of Education. Information about
the study group is provided in table 1 below.
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Female
Male
Gender
Table 1. Study Group (N=437)
f
Age
% Range
f
%
High School
Type
f
% Grade
f
%
Academic
Achievement
Status
f
%
183 41.9 17-19 74 16.9 General High 293 67.0
School
1
118 27.0 Less than 2.00 14 3.2
High
254 58.1 20-21 199 45.5 Science
School
2
113 25.9
2.01-3.00
278 63.6
High 84 19.2
22-23 136 31.1 Anatolian
School
3
142 32.5
3.01-3.50
129 29.5
High 30 6.9
24-25 18 4.1 Vocational
School
4
64 14.6
3.51-4.00
16 3.7
26+
10 2.3
Private High
School
Other
2
6
.5
1.4
22 5.0
2.3. Data Collection Instrument
Research data were collected via the questionnaire developed by the researchers. The Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Questionnaire Form created through the review of the related literature was submitted to the opinion of the
faculty members from Gazi University, Ankara University, and Hacettepe University specialized in the Teaching of Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution in
order to ensure item pool scope validity. After necessary corrections were made in
accordance with the opinions of the above-mentioned domain experts, the questionnaire form, which was approved by also assessment and evaluation and linguistics
experts, was administered to 235 students attending Gazi University Gazi Faculty
of Education. Then reliability analyses were conducted via SPSS 15.0. The internal
consistency coefficient of the questionnaire was calculated via Cronbach’s Alpha.
Calculated to be .95, this value demonstrated that the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Questionnaire Form could be used for performing reliable measurements. A reliability coefficient of not less than 0.70 is regarded as an indicator
of scale’s reliability (Sipahi, Yurtkoru and Çinko, 2010).
2.4. Data Collection and Analysis
Research data were collected from 437 pre-service social studies teachers studying
at the departments of social studies education of Aksaray University Faculty of Education, Gazi University Gazi Faculty of Education, Karadeniz Technical University Fatih
Faculty of Education, and Kastamonu University Faculty of Education in the spring
semester of the 2013-2014 academic year. At the data collection stage, the participants
were informed of the study’s aim, quality (i.e. it was a scientific study), and confidentiality (i.e. personal information would be kept confidential). The research data were
analyzed via SPSS 15.0. The descriptive statistics belonging to the participants’ views
were included in data analysis for making direct analysis possible.
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3.Findings And Interpretation
This section presents the research findings and the interpretations of such findings.
The research findings and interpretations are based on the data obtained in accordance
with the sub-problems of the study.
3.1. The Findings and Interpretations Related to the First Sub-Problem
In the analysis of the first sub-problem of the study, the descriptive statistical values
related to the interest and achievement levels of the pre-service social studies teachers
regarding the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course were dealt with.
These values are presented in table 2.
Table 2. The Interest and Achievement Levels of the Pre-service Social Studies
Teachers regarding APHRC (N=437)
The Level
of Interest
in APHRC
Subjects
f
%
The Number
of Books about
APHR Read
None
8
1.8
None
Low
39 8.9
1-5
Medium
225 51.5
6-10
High
120 27.5
Very High
45 10.3
21+
f
%
The Status
of Attending
the APHRC
f
%
The Status of
Achievement
in the APHRC
f
%
45 10.3
None
23
5.3
50-
238 54.5
1/4
37
8.5
51-70
103 23.6
4
.9
100 22.9
Half
75 17.2
71-85
215 49.2
11-15
32
7.3
3/4
171 39.1
86-100
115 26.3
16-20
18
4.1
All
131 30.0
4
.9
According to the table 2, 89.3% of the participants stated that they had a medium-level or a high-level interest in APHRC subjects. However, only 22 students read over 16
books on such subjects. These students constituted 5% of the pre-service social studies
teachers participating in the study. According to the table 2, 69.1% of the study group
attended most of the lessons. The table 2 also demonstrates that the academic achievement score of 75.5% of the pre-service social studies teachers in the APHRC was in the
range of 71 to 100.
3.2. The Findings and Interpretations Related to the Second Sub-Problem
In the analysis of the second sub-problem of the study, the descriptive statistical
values related to the views of the pre-service social studies teachers regarding the existence and necessity of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course were
dealt with. These values are presented in tables 3, 4, and 5.
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Table 3. The Views of the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers Regarding the Existence and Necessity of the APHRC (N=437)
Yes
Statement
No
f
%
f
%
Should the APHTRC continue to be taught at higher education level?
382
87.4
55
12.6
Should the APHTRC be an elective course?
147
33.6
290
66.4
Should the content of the APHTRC be changed?
153
35.0
284
65.0
Should the name of the APHTRC be changed?
59
13.5
378
86.5
According to the table 3, 87.4% of the pre-service teachers in the study group wanted the APHRC to continue to be taught at higher-education level. 66.4% of the students
wanted the course to be compulsory, and 65% of the students wanted the content of the
course not to be changed. In addition, 86.5% of the students did not want the name of the
course to be changed. Among the suggestions of the pre-service social studies teachers
wanting the name of the course to changed, the History of the Republic of Turkey, the
History of Modern Turkey, and Revolution History come to the forefront.
Table 4. The Views of the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers Regarding the
Number of APHRC Hours
Course Hour
f
%
None
21
4.8
1
134
30.6
2
138
31.6
3
96
22.0
4
48
11.0
Total
437
100.0
According to the table 4, 31.6% of the pre-service social studies teachers in the study
group wanted the APHRC to be provided in two course hours weekly as specified in the
curriculum set by the Council of Higher Education; 33% of the study group wanted the
number of course hours to be increased; 30.6% of the study group wanted the said number to be reduced to one hour; and 4.8% of the study group stated that there should be no
APHRC. The pre-service teachers stating that there should be no APHRC said “Agree”
to the statements in table 5 arguing that this course is unnecessary, and indicated the
reasons underlying their wishes for the elimination of the course.
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Table 5. The Views of the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers Regarding the
Problems Underlying Their Wishes for the Elimination of the APHRC
from the Curriculum (N=437)
Agree
Disagree
Problems encountered at high school level continue.
f
13
%
3.0
f
424
%
97.0
It is just an unnecessary repetition at higher education level.
16
3.7
421
96.3
It is far from being objective.
11
2.5
426
97.5
It is devoid of discussion and criticism.
13
3.0
424
97.0
It is static.
8
1.8
429
98.2
There is no place for different points of view.
19
4.3
418
95.7
It prevents students from developing democratic attitudes.
6
1.4
431
98.6
It reflects the official ideology.
17
3.9
420
96.1
It does not have any effect on academic achievement.
6
1.4
431
98.6
3.2
423
96.8
1.8
429
98.2
Statements
Since it is teacher-centered, it does not have much contribution to student de- 14
velopment.
It is regarded as a preparation course for exams like KPSS (Public Personnel 8
Selection Examination).
According to the table 5, the most common view regarding the problems underlying
the wishes of the pre-service social studies teachers for the elimination of the APHRC
from the curriculum was, “There is no place for different points of view” (4.3%) .While
3.9% of the pre-service social studies teachers in the study group stated that the APHRC
was a course aimed at reflecting the official ideology, 3.7% of the study group said that
it was just an unnecessary repetition at higher education level.
3.3. The Findings and Interpretations Related to the Third Sub-Problem
In the analysis of the third sub-problem of the study, the descriptive statistical values related to the views of the pre-service social studies teachers regarding the level
of achievement of the objectives of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution
Course were dealt with. These values are presented in table 6.
Table 6. The Views of the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers Regarding the Level of Achievement of the Objectives of the APHRC (N=437)
Statements
Learning about the past
Understanding the present
Creating historical consciousness
Cultivating individuals who
are aware of their duties and
responsibilities
None
f
%
4
.9
12 2.7
Low
f
%
37
8.5
46
10.5
Medium
f
%
147
33.6
148
33.9
High
f
185
143
%
42.3
32.7
Very High
f
%
64
14.6
88
20.1
8
1.8
38
8.7
106
24.3
176
40.3
109
24.9
11
2.5
49
11.2
117
26.8
162
37.1
98
22.4
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Statements
Contributing to the moral
development of individuals
Learning Atatürk’s principles and revolutions
Learning Atatürk’s ideas
and thoughts
Learning the political history of the Republic of Turkey
Learning and acquiring
consciousness about the
common matters that threat
the Republic of Turkey
Acquiring national objectives and ideals
Perceiving change and continuity
Acquiring the scientific
thinking skill
Making evaluations in political, cultural, social, etc.
matters
Analyzing Turkish foreign
policy
Conveying the basic values
of the Republic
None
f
%
Low
f
%
Medium
f
%
High
f
%
Very High
f
%
25
5.7
97
22.2
144
33.0
112
25.6
59
13.5
3
.7
25
5.7
97
22.2
175
40.0
137
31.4
9
2.1
24
5.5
89
20.4
172
39.4
143
32.7
6
1.4
29
6.6
111
25.4
180
41.2
111
25.4
5
1.1
37
8.5
119
27.2
163
37.3
113
25.9
9
2.1
39
8.9
101
23.1
161
36.8
127
29.1
12
2.7
63
14.4
126
28.8
143
32.7
93
21.3
28
6.4
75
17.2
157
35.9
109
24.9
68
15.6
11
2.5
55
12.6
124
28.4
162
37.1
85
19.5
16
3.7
66
15.1
123
28.1
132
30.2
100
22.9
11
2.5
35
8.0
118
27.0
149
34.1
124
28.4
According to the table 6, the pre-service social studies teachers in the study group
thought that the objectives of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course
were achieved at a high level. The statement receiving the highest percentage of responses (6.4%) in the category of “none” was, “Acquiring the scientific thinking skill”.
That is directly associated with the first three statements having the highest frequencies
among the basic problems experienced in the course presented in table 7.
3.4. The Findings and Interpretations Related to the Fourth Sub-Problem
In the analysis of the fourth sub-problem of the study, the descriptive statistical values related to the views of the pre-service social studies teachers regarding the problems
experienced in the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course were dealt
with. These values are presented in table 7.
Table 7. The Views of the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers Regarding the
Problems Experienced in the APHRC (N=437)
Agree
Statements
The number of course hours is inadequate.
The course is exam-oriented.
Course books are inadequate.
f
142
259
191
%
32.5
59.3
43.7
Disagree
f
%
295
67.5
178
40.7
246
56.3
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Agree
252
237
100
125
83
163
156
121
%
57.7
54.2
22.9
28.6
19.0
37.3
35.7
27.7
185
200
337
312
354
274
281
316
Disagree
f
%
42.3
45.8
77.1
71.4
81.0
62.7
64.3
72.3
108
24.7
329
75.3
148
33.9
289
66.1
91
20.8
346
79.2
Concern for finishing all subjects in the curriculum decreases the
200
productiveness of the course as well as the interest in the course.
45.8
237
54.2
The presentation of the same content in such different departments
96
as social studies, science, and health reduces the interest.
22.0
341
78.0
The inclusion of current issues in the course content prevents ma- 62
king sound evaluations.
14.2
375
85.8
Statements
The teaching methods employed in the course are inadequate.
The teaching materials employed in the course are inadequate.
The course has an intense content.
The instructor of the course is incompetent.
The course is compulsory.
Students do not believe that this course is necessary.
Political tendencies are influential on the course content.
Non-credit nature of the course has negative effects.
The intense coverage of political and military events in the curriculum bores students.
Atatürk’s ideas and thoughts cannot be conveyed sufficiently.
The suggestions and directing of mass media have a negative effect
on the trust in the course.
f
According to the table 7, the following problems come to the forefront among
the problems stated by the pre-service social studies teachers to be experienced in the
APHRC: “The course is exam-oriented” (59.3%); “The teaching methods employed
in the course are inadequate.” (57.7%); and “The teaching materials employed in the
course are inadequate.” (54.2%).
3.5. The Findings and Interpretations Related to the Fifth Sub-Problem
In the analysis of the fifth sub-problem of the study, the descriptive statistical values
related to the views of the pre-service social studies teachers regarding the meaning of
the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course for them were dealt with.
These values are presented in table 8.
Table 8. The Meaning of the APHRC for the Pre-service Social Studies Teachers
(N=437)
Agree
f
%
12
2.7
Nothing
26
5.9
An ordinary course
Preparation for exams like KPSS (Public Personnel Selection Examination) 145 33.2
203 46.5
An instrument of cultivating good citizens
103 23.6
An instrument of reflecting the official ideology
An instrument of knowing Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
246 56.3
Statements
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Disagree
f
%
425 97.3
411 94.1
292 66.8
234 53.5
334 76.4
191 43.7
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Agree
f
%
261 59.7
257 58.8
Statements
A course that must be received by every Turkish citizen
A course explaining the importance of national unity and solidarity
A course that has an intense content, but whose real objective cannot be 168
understood
126
A course showing the developments in the 19th to 20th centuries
49
A course serving the purpose of increasing the diploma grade
Disagree
f
%
176 40.3
180 41.2
38.4
269
61.6
28.8
11.2
311
388
71.2
88.8
According to the table 8, 59.7% of the pre-service social studies teachers considered
the APHR a course that must be received by every Turkish citizen; 58.8% of the preservice social studies teachers regarded the APHR as a course explaining the importance
of national unity and solidarity; 56.3% thought that the course contributed to knowing
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; 46.5% stated that the course helped to cultivate good citizens;
and 33.2% told that it was aimed to prepare students for exams like KPSS (Public Personnel Selection Examination). On the other hand, 2.7% said that the APHR meant
nothing for them, and 5.9% thought that it was not different from other courses.
4.Conclusion and Discussion
The results of the present study demonstrated that 89.3% of the pre-service social
studies teachers in the study group had a medium level or high level interest in the subjects of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course. The research results
of Babaoğlu (2013) support this finding. According to Babaoğlu (2013), contrary to
what is believed generally, higher education students have a high level interest in the
subjects of this course.
It was determined that the pre-service social studies teachers in the study group
read just a limited number of books on the APHRC subjects. The number of books
read by 54.5% of the participants on such subjects was 1 to 5. The number of students
who read over 16 books was 22. This group constituted 5% of the pre-service social
studies teachers in the study group. Ozankaya (1978: 70-71) reported that 58 (8.9%) of
the participants had read one book on that subject; 39 (6%) had read two books on that
subject; 16 participants (2.4%) had read three books on that subject; 41 participants had
read four or more books on that subject; and 203 participants (31.2%) had not read any
book on that subject in the year of examination. 8 participants (1.2%) also stated that
they had read books on that subject, but they did not mention the names of the books.
287 participants (44%) left the question unanswered. Thus, it can be thought that a
great majority of the individuals in that group did not read books on that subject. These
findings show parallelism with the research results of Gülmez (2003), too. Among the
individuals participating in Gülmez (2003), 49.2% stated that they had not read any
book apart from the textbook about Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution until
then; 19.6% told that they had read one book; 16.7% said that they had read four or more
books; 10.3% mentioned that they had read two books; and 4.1% denoted that they had
read three books. Nutuk was the most read book among such books (21%). According
to Akbaba (2009), 54.3% of the students stated that the number of books they read about
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the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course was 0 to 5, while this number
was 6 to 10 for 27.5%, 11 to 15 for 8.2%, 16 to 20 for 5.6%, and over 21 for 4.4% of the
participants. All research shows that the number of books about the subject read by the
higher education youth, including pre-service teachers, is quite limited.
87.4% of the pre-service teachers in the study group wanted the APHRC to continue to be taught at higher education level. 66.4% of the students wanted the course to
be compulsory, and 65% of the students wanted the course content not to be changed.
86.5% of the participants did not want the name of the course to be changed. Among
the suggestions of the pre-service social studies teachers wanting the name of the course
to changed, the History of the Republic of Turkey, the History of Modern Turkey, and
Revolution History come to the forefront. 31.6% of the pre-service social studies teachers in the study group wanted the APHRC to be provided in two course hours weekly
as specified in the curriculum set by the Council of Higher Education; 33% of the study
group wanted the number of course hours to be increased; 30.6% of the study group
wanted the said number to be reduced to one hour; and 4.8% of the study group stated
that there should be no APHRC. Of the individuals participating in Ozankaya (1978:
71), 189 (29%) stated that the number of course hours should be increased; 26 (4%) said
that the number of course hours should be decreased; and 323 (49.5%) mentioned that
the number of course hours was adequate. 15 individuals (2.3%) wanted the course to be
removed completely. Another study supporting these findings was “The Outlook of University Youth on the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course” conducted
by Gülmez (2003) with 1084 students from Celal Bayar University, Ege University,
Pamukkale University, and Atatürk University. According to the findings of that study,
809 people stated that the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course should
be taught, while 190 students told that it should not be taught in response to question
asking whether the said course was necessary or not. Among the students participating
in Aksoy (2003: 157), 472 individuals (76.1%) stated that the Atatürk’s Principles and
History of Revolution Course was necessary; 35 individuals (23.2%) told that it was
partly necessary; and 113 individuals (18.3%) said that it was not necessary. To the statement about the adequacy of course hours for the teaching of the Atatürk’s Principles
and History of Revolution Course, 33.4% of the students said “no”, 14.8% said “partly
adequate”, and 51.8% said “yes”. In the study conducted by Hacettepe University Institute of Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution with 1008 students from thirty
three departments at the end of the 1995-96 spring semester, it was seen that the general
opinion was that the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course should be
provided at the morning hours, on weekdays, and in two course hours. 17% of the students approved the idea of increasing the course hours while 66% rejected it. 23% approved the idea of decreasing the course hours, and 57% rejected it (Yılmaz, 2004: 103).
The most common view regarding the problems underlying the wishes of the preservice social studies teachers for the elimination of the APHRC from the curriculum
was, “There is no place for different points of view” (4.3%) .While 3.9% of the preservice social studies teachers in the study group stated that the APHRC was a course
aimed at reflecting the official ideology, 3.7% of the study group said that it was just an
unnecessary repetition at higher education level.
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The pre-service social studies teachers in the study group thought that the objectives
of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course were achieved at a high
level. One finding parallel with this result is the one obtained from the study carried out
at Hacettepe University which indicated that the participants thought that the APHRC
would both help students understand the Turkish Revolution and contribute to their future lives (Yılmaz, 2004). The findings of Akbaba (2007) focusing on the objectives of the
teaching of revolution history are also consistent with the findings of the current study.
According to Akbaba (2007), the participants had a correct perception of the existential
objectives of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course as well as its
basic characteristics. The Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course fulfills
the function of teaching the past, making students understand the present, and guiding
future plans, which is one of the main goals of history courses. The Atatürk’s Principles
and History of Revolution Course has played an important role in the creation of the
national identity. The Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course aims at
cultivating citizens who are aware of their duties and responsibilities in the Republic
of Turkey and turn such awareness into action. The Atatürk’s Principles and History of
Revolution Course informs the Turkish youth of the National Struggle, the mentality of
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who is one of the unique heroes of the Turkish history, his great
successes, and his role in the creation of the Republic of Turkey. The Atatürk’s Principles and of Turkish Revolution Course provides guidance for determining the roles
played by the Republic of Turkey due to its geopolitical position as well as its policies
in the international arena (Akbaba, 2007).
The following problems come to the forefront among the problems stated by the
pre-service social studies teachers to be experienced in the APHRC: “The course is
exam-oriented” (59.3%); “The teaching methods employed in the course are inadequate.” (57.7%); and “The teaching materials employed in the course are inadequate.”
(54.2%). The results of Gülmez (2003) support these findings, too. According to Gülmez (2003), 53.2% of the students stated that no material other than the textbook was
used in the teaching of the course. 14.6% of the students told that extra materials were
used in addition to the textbook. 18.1% told that extra materials were sometimes used.
41.2% of the participants of the above-mentioned study wanted more materials to be
used for teaching, and conferences, panels, and symposiums to be held on course subjects. The findings of the study conducted at Hacettepe University in order to determine
the productivity of the APHRC are consistent with the findings provided here. According to the said study, traditional lecture model has not been given up in the course yet.
That makes it difficult to keep students awake during the course hour. In addition, one
of the most important prejudices about the course determined in the above-mentioned
study is that it is a “course based on rote-learning”. The study shows that the content
and the presentation of the information given in the course do not change, and thus
start to be non-interesting after a while. That causes students to begin this course in a
prejudiced way and have quite low expectations from the course (Doğaner, 2005: 285).
The study of Akbaba (2008) entitled, “The Problems Experienced in the Teaching of the
Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course (The Case of Gazi University)”
also demonstrated that one of the primary problems was the exam-oriented teaching of
the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course. In the study, the participants
agreed with the inadequacies of the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution CoMay 2016 Vol:24 No:3 Kastamonu Education Journal
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urse textbooks, and the teaching methods and teaching materials used in the course at
a high level.
The results of the study of Şimşek and Güler (2013) entitled, “The Problems Experienced in the Teaching of the High School Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution
Course and Solution Offers for Such Problems According to the Views of In-service
Teachers and Pre-service Teachers” support the results of the present study, too. According to the said study, while the problem perceived by pre-service teachers at the
highest-level was, “The course is considered boring”, the problem perceived by them
at the lowest level was “The curriculum is intense”. The most important problems perceived by the pre-service teachers were as follows: “The course is boring”, “Teachers
do not know and implement history teaching methods and techniques”, and “Sources,
tools, and materials are inadequate”. The pre-service teachers put teachers at the center
of the problems experienced in the high school revolution history course. According to
the research results of Akbaba (2008), the students do not agree with the statement that
the instructors teaching the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course are
incompetent.
59.7% of the pre-service social studies teachers considered the APHRC a course
that must be received by every Turkish citizen; 58.8% of the pre-service social studies
teachers regarded the APHRC as a course explaining the importance of national unity
and solidarity; 56.3% thought that the course contributed to knowing Mustafa Kemal
Atatürk; 46.5% stated that the course helped to cultivate good citizens; and 33.2% told
that it was aimed to prepare students for exams like KPSS (Public Personnel Selection
Examination). On the other hand, 2.7% said that the APHR meant nothing for them,
and 5.9% thought that it was not different from other courses. According to the research
results of Gülmez (2003), while 28% of the individuals believing that the teaching of
the course was necessary stated that this kind of a course was necessary for “cultivating
good citizens and an Kemalist youth”, 20% of them agreed with the statement, “one
who does not know his history cannot know his future”. According to Aksoy (2003:
206), 53.7% of the students thought that the Atatürk’s Principles and History of Revolution Course was partly influential on making students gain the national identity and
the national objectives; 21.1% stated that it was influential; and 17.4% said that it was
not influential at all. 47.1% of the students thought that the course was partly influential
on informing students of internal and external threats; 26.1% said that it was influential;
and 26.8% told that it was not influential at all. According to the research results of
Akbaba (2008), a great majority of the sample group selected from the higher education
youth studying at Gazi University believed that the Atatürk’s Principles and History of
Revolution Course was necessary. According to Akbaba (2009), the Atatürk’s Principles
and History of Revolution Course was considered influential on students’ educational
and cultural lives, the formation of political ideas, the emergence of opinions regarding
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, understanding the present, producing ideas in regard to the
future of our country, and shaping opinions about the European Union.
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